H

Habitual residence test

If an applicant is not subject to immigration control, and has lived abroad s/he must be habitually resident in the Common Travel Area to be eligible for assistance under the homelessness legislation, for an allocation of social housing or to be entitled to a range of benefits. An EEA national with a right to reside in the UK (eg a worker) will automatically be treated as habitually resident.

Halls of residence

Accommodation for students, usually consisting of single or shared rooms with shared kitchens and bathrooms.

Harassment

When carried out by a landlord, harassment could mean interfering with an occupier's right to live in their property, eg by intimidating the occupier or interfering with services such as the water or electricity supply. Alternatively, harassment could be carried out by neighbours or other people and could involve any actions intended to disturb or annoy somebody.

Hearsay evidence

Second-hand evidence in which the witness is not relating what s/he knows personally, but what others have said to her/him. Hearsay evidence is generally not accepted in a trial, although it may be permitted where no first-hand evidence is available.

Help at court

One form of civil legal aid services, which covers help and advocacy for a client in relation to a particular hearing, without formally acting as legal representative in the proceedings.

HHSRS (Housing Health and Safety Rating System)

The HHSRS is the new system for assessing housing conditions that was introduced by Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004. The HHSRS replaces the previous fitness standards (section 604 Housing Act 1985).

Higher leaseholder

A person or company who has a very long lease (such as 999 years) on a particular property and grants a shorter lease (such as 99 years) to someone else.

Holding deposit

A sum of money paid to a letting agent or estate agent to keep accommodation available.

Homelessness

Not having a home. It is not just people who sleep on the streets who are homeless. Homelessness has a legal definition and includes some people who are living in unsuitable housing or who have no security where they are living.

Hostel

Emergency or temporary accommodation, usually consisting of a room that may be shared with other people or a bed in a dormitory.

House in multiple occupation (HMO)

A house or flat that is occupied by more than one household who live separately. Houses in multiple occupation are often large houses split up into bedsits.

Housing association

A not-for-profit organisation that provides accommodation at lower rents than private landlords. Many housing associations also operate home ownership schemes such as shared ownership or HomeBuy. Housing associations are usually private registered providers of social housing (formerly known as registered social landlords) and regulated by the Tenants Services Authority.

Housing benefit

A benefit paid by local authorities to help people who are on benefits or low incomes to pay their rent.

Housing register

A waiting list for local authority accommodation. In many areas, the housing register is also used to decide who gets a housing association property.

Housing possession court duty schemes

Schemes available in county courts throughout England and Wales which provide free legal advice and representation on the day of their hearing to people facing possession proceedings. The duty schemes are funded by civil legal aid but are not means tested.

Humanitarian protection

This is an immigration status which can be given to anyone who, whilst not recognised as a refugee, would in his or her own country, be at serious risk of facing the death penalty, unlawful killing or torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Permission to stay in the UK is granted for up to five years from August 2005 onwards and up to three years prior to August 2005. From 6 October 2006 onwards, people granted humanitarian protection are included under the Immigration Rules.

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